BY YANEEK SMITH | MIRROR SPORTS — Zack Snyder has had a fantastic season – and it only got better last weekend.
The Anthony Wayne senior, who wrestled at 138 pounds, won his first three matches and advanced to the finals to earn a second-place finish while leading the Generals to an 18th-place finish in the Division I district tournament at Perrys-burg High School.
In a district that included 38 teams, AW finished with 26 points. Cleveland St. Edward won the tournament with 269 points, followed by Elyria (215.5), Clay (150.5), Perrysburg (139.5) and Avon (81).
“In my opinion, it’s the hardest district in Division I,” said AW coach Ryan Donley. “When you add the likes of a Midview and some of these other schools, it’s one thing to run into a team that has a handful of kids.
“The district has studs. There are really good wrestlers that don’t get out of the districts. It’s a meat grinder and it’s difficult to get out (of districts). For the last however many years, this has been the district that features the most state placers. There are a lot of good kids that don’t make it out.”
Snyder, who entered the tournament with a 36-12 record, won his first two matches by fall, pinning Olmsted Falls’ Jake Toth in 4:58 in the first round and pinning Midview’s Andrew Philion in 5:58. Snyder edged Berea-Midpark’s Caden Wendling in the semifinals, 6-3, and lost to Elyria’s Mick Burnett, 17-2, in the finals.
“It was simply awesome. Zack has been our hardest worker and you won’t find a better kid as far as on the mat, off the mat,” Donley said. “He’s a phenomenal kid. You’d be hard pressed to find a kid that has as much drive as he does. The old adage that hard work pays off – that was special for Zack.
“The community is behind us. I think Zack is ready. He has a goal of getting on the podium, which I think is very doable for him. I’m super proud of him, I’m proud of his teammates. If you see a good wrestler, you see good teammates. He’s got good drill partners.”
Dawson Frederick (152) finished the season with a 25-16 record after winning one match and losing two others. He edged Parma’s King Mweke, 5-4, in the first round before losing to Elyria’s Enrique Munguia by fall in 30 seconds. He then lost to Olmsted Falls’ Brandon Burkhart by fall in 2:39.
Brody Stultz (170) lost his first match, falling to Elyria’s Jo Jo Nowwood in the first round, 7-2. He recovered to defeat St. Francis’ Julia Howard, 8-1, but lost to Northview’s Andrew Liber, 8-3.
Wendell Stewart lost to North Royalton’s Lazar Gasic in the first round by fall (1:33), defeated Avon Lake’s Hunter McHugh, 7-3, and lost to St. Edward’s Nickolas Lisco by fall in 3:50.
It was the final match for Frederick, Stultz and Stewart.
“Just like any of our seniors, it’s always hard to see them go,” Donley said. “I wonder what I could’ve done differently. All three of those kids are going to be successful adults – they’re hard-working kids. They’re well-liked by their teachers and their peers. I’m very confident that they’ll be successful.
“They were very excited for Zack. It’s sad to see a kid’s career come to an end. They can hold their heads up high.”